Introducing Words for WP: A Copywriting Service for the WordPress Community

This week I’m really excited to launch Words for WP, a copywriting service specifically for WordPress businesses. Why am I so excited? Because it’s my very own business venture!

Neat Idea! Where did it come from?

A few months ago I was emailing back and forth with a certain lovely WordPress community member. I was reading through his website and there was an inaccuracy. I emailed him to point it out and he said it was weird because he had paid a copywriter to proof the website. He shrugged it off, however, because he said if you didn’t understand the context of the copy it would be easy to get wrong.

This made me think – there are copywriters out there who know how to write amazing copy but don’t know jack about WordPress. And there are WordPressers out there who can make your eyes bleed by doing amazing things with PHP but who don’t know the difference between “where”, “wear”, and “were” (true example from a well known WordPress business – they also suggested putting child theme functions in function.php. Way to confuse your thousands of users!)

But who, I wondered, can do both?

Enter Words for WP

And so, to get to the point, I thought that there might be space in the market for a copywriting service that specializes in producing content specifically for WordPress businesses. By content I mean documentation, tutorials, user interface text, web content, articles, blog posts, press releases, anything that involves putting more than two words together to make a phrase.

Time for a list!

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a WordPress Copywriter

  1. Good quality content makes you look professional. Nothing makes a worse impression than a typo.
  2. Good documentation means fewer support requests so more coding time for you.
  3. Complex concepts can be made meaningful to less experienced WordPress users.
  4. Clear, sharp UI text makes your plugin easier to use. Typos and grammatical errors can cause problems.
  5. Working with a copywriter who knows WordPress gives you the confidence to know that when you’re talking about the loop we’ll know what you mean.

How we work

Because of the huge pre-launch  interest I’ve enlisted the help of the Mason James. Mason is a documentation specialist, WordPress expert and WPMU DEV support guru. Between us we have worked out a two-pronged approach with one of us being the lead, and the other the tester. Here’s how it goes:

  1. One of us takes the lead and gets in touch with you, the client. The lead will spend some time chatting about what you want to achieve out of your content. We’ll also talk about the tone you want to convey and how the content should fit with your overall brand.
  2. Getting down to business. The lead gets to know your product inside out. This may involve some quality time with the developer so that we can ensure that we know how things work before getting started. This is especially important if we’re working from a point of zero documentation.
  3. The lead starts writing the content. If I were to write a tutorial, for example, I would create the exact steps on my own WordPress install to produce the outcome we need. This would all be documented in glorious technicolor with screenshots to complement the content.
  4. The content is correctly formatted  on your website (or as a PDF, or inscribed with illuminated text on vellum, or however you want it. For a full content wireframe we build the site using Jumpchart).
  5. Next the content is passed from the lead writer to the tester. The tester has had no access to your developer so they’ll be coming at it with a fresh pair of eyes. They’ll work through tutorials to make sure they are accurate and can be followed, and read web copy and documentation to make sure they can be understood by the average WordPress user.
  6. It’s yours to release to the wild!

As we go along we will compile reports of any bugs that we encounter, any usability issues, and typographical and grammatical errors in the UI.

So What? I Can Write. Just What Are Your Credentials?

No doubt you can write – if you’re using WordPress then chances are that you at least have some ability to string sentences together. I can write PHP but it’s probably some of the worst PHP you’ll come across – clunky, inelegant, inefficient, geddit?

Time to dust off the C.V.   I’m guessing, though, that you aren’t interested in the months I worked as a night-time shop fitter or the quadruple-shot-mars-bar-coffee I invented during my waitressing days. Okay, time to be awful and tell you about my awesome (and relevant) skills:

  • More than three years experience working with WordPress
  • More than a year blogging right here at WPMU.org
  • Experienced WordPress documentation and sales writer
  • Award-winning writer represented by one of London’s top literary agencies
  • Experienced bug tester (all those hours spent testing bugs *cries* I still have nightmares….)
  • Teaching qualification with experience teaching writing to adults
  • Considerable experience working with developers on usability issues
  • Masters degree in Non-Fiction writing
  • Worked with plugin developers to develop major plugins
  • Been Boing-Boinged
  • Considerable experience working with clients on WordPress customizations
  • Ridiculous pedant who gets anxious when she sees a misplaced apostrophe

If there is something else that you want in a WordPress copywriter then tell me and I’ll figure out a way to add it on there.

Here are some of Mason’s credentials:

  • Seven years experience working with WordPress
  • Three years experience developing themes and plugins
  • Professional WordPress consultant
  • Experienced WordPress and Multisite bug tester
  • Advising plugin developers on usability and UI
  • WordPress, BuddyPress and Multisite documentation specialist
  • Project manager of major international WordPress development projects
  • Two years heading up an insanely busy WordPress support forum
  • Won the 4th Grade creative writing prize for his magnum opus “My life as a pencil”

Sounds Awesome! What Do Your Charge?

Our standard rate is $45 per hour. We charge an hourly rate rather than a per word rate because of the complexities of working on a WordPress project. As well as producing content we also spend time getting to know your product, interacting with developers, testing plugins, and inserting and formatting text correctly onto your website. Not to mention the huge number of screenshots that necessarily accompanies any piece of documentation.

We also offer a premium service (at a premium rate) if you have a rush job. We don’t like to bump clients around so if you have a rush job we’ll be doing it in our leisure time (and perhaps in our sleeping time). You can contact us if you want to take advantage of this.

ARGH! I Can’t Make Up My Own Mind! What Do Other People Think?

Don’t take my word for it, here’s what some other people had to say:

“Siobhan doesn’t just write – she conceives, researches, considers, frames, illustrates… and then she writes some of the best sh*t you’re likely to get your hands on.

The great thing about working with Siobhan is that it makes my life *easy*, knowing that she’ll be doing a better job that I could, means I can leave her to it!

If you’re looking for a professional, honest, frank and focused copywriter, you’re not going to get much better than Siobhan.”

James Farmer – Incsub

“Siobhan is helping us with content for a new site for WordPress developers. She’s took upon herself to learn our products and is handling everything from technical writing to marketing material. I couldn’t be more satisfied with copywriting work!”

Amir Helzer, iCanLocalize

“It’s amazing how Mason and Siobhan were able to transform our geeky, technical documentation for Infinity, into something that even WordPress beginners could understand and get excited about. They also helped us pinpoint features we could improve upon by asking a lot of questions during the writing process. All in all we could not be happier about their services!”

Bowe Frankema, PressCrew

Hopefully we’ll be able to add you to our list of happy, happy clients.

So, that’s all, we are launched. We’re already working with a number of different clients including iCanLocalize (of WPML fame) and Press Crew (the delightful developers of Infinity), and, of course, you can always find us doing our thing right here at WPMU.org.

As client projects go live I’ll start to link back to them from our website. In the meantime you can check out some of my classic posts and tutorials right here on WPMU.org, or take a trip over to the website to learn more.